How CBD Oil Effects Your Mind and Body
You’ve likely heard a lot about CBD, but is it much ado about nothing? Cannabidiol, the non-psychotropic compound in hemp and cannabis, is found in everything from skincare to lattes these days, but no one is really taking the time to explain what it does.
What is CBD?
Inside both the cannabis and hemp plants, more than a hundred cannabinoids and phytocannabinoids exist. CBD is one of the most prevalent cannabinoids- in fact, it’s right behind THC when it comes to the cannabis plant. THC is perhaps the best-known cannabinoid, being the psychoactive compound that gives marijuana users the euphoric feeling they’re familiar with.
While both CBD and THC have effects on the mind and body, they affect these systems in dramatically different ways. Perhaps the most notable difference is that CBD is not mind-altering. This article serves to highlight the effects of CBD oil on both your mind and body.
CBD Oil’s Effect on the Brain
CBD is touted as providing relief for ailments like inflammation, sleeping disorders, and anxiety, but what is it doing to our brains?
Whenever a substance enters your bloodstream, it eventually works its way to your brain. Once it reaches the brain, it influences brain activity by interacting with receptors and neurons.
For example, when it interacts with a dopamine receptor, it can help your body produce more cannabinoids and regulate behavior and cognitive functioning. One of the main reasons the spotlight is on CBD is due to its ability to target serotonin receptors, helping with pain management, mood regulation, nausea, and more.
CBD is quite a bit different than the other cannabinoids. The majority of cannabinoids interact with two key receptors in the endocannabinoids system, CB1 and CB2. CBD does not bind to either of these.
There’s a lot of big claims about the benefits of CBD and how it affects our brain, but there’s a desperate need for more research. Here’s what we do know:
CBD’s Neuroprotective Effects
CBD is potentially beneficial when used in a treatment regimen of specific neurological diseases due to its ability to protect neurons from prion accumulation and prion toxicity. Studies about Alzheimer’s have shown that CBD prevents and slows the development of Alzheimer’s symptoms.
CBD’s Effect on Anxiety
CBD has been shown to reduce anxiety in blind studies. One study clearly demonstrated that the patients that received CBD showed a significant decrease in subjective anxiety and significant changes in brain mechanisms tied to the anxiety response in our bodies.
This means that CBD is effective in reducing anxiety in SAD (seasonal affective disorder) due to its effects on activity in the areas of the brain associated with limbic and paralimbic brain functions.
How CBD Works in the Brain
CBD’s effects come as it travels through various molecular pathways. CBD does not bind with either of the well-known cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, but it has an effect on your body through several different receptor-independent channels. CBD works to both enhance and inhibit the binding action of certain protein-coupled receptors.
Here’s a few of those systems and their relationship with CBD.
CBD specifically targets the serotonin 1A receptor. It’s this receptor that induces a lot of the well-known benefits of CBD.
Serotonin receptors regulate the release of specific hormones like cortisol (the fight or flight hormone that is responsible for metabolism and stress response). The serotonin receptor also releases oxytocin which has a deep effect on mood, cognition, and appetite.
Research has established that CBD binds to the TRPV1 receptors (aka the vanilloid receptors), causing a therapeutic effect. TRPV1 is an ion channel, playing a role in thermoregulation, inflammation, and the perception of pain.
We’ve touched on GPR55 before. This is called the orphan receptor because researchers are still unsure if it belongs to a larger receptor system. It’s involved in modulating blood pressure, bone reabsorption, and bone density.
CBD and Anandamide
Research shows that CBD in the brain inhibits anandamide reuptake and breakdown. This serves to increase endocannabinoid levels in the brain’s synapses. Anandamide is an extremely powerful endocannabinoid that’s found in the brain and this process has a neuroprotective effect against seizures and other conditions.
Let’s take a step back and look at the science of this for a second.
Since CBD is a plant compound, once it enters your bloodstream, it has to pass through the cell membrane to get inside human cells, allowing it to bind with a nuclear receptor. This process is accomplished when CBD attaches itself to a fatty acid binding protein (FABP), which secures its passage through the membrane into the cell’s interior. The same intracellular molecules are responsible for transporting THC and the brain’s natural endocannabinoids, anandamide and 2AG to different parts of the same cell.
CBD interacts well with three different kinds of FABPs. This interaction causes CBD to compete with our own natural endocannabinoid reserves. Once endocannabinoids are inside a cell, anandamide is broken down by fatty acid hydrolase. CBD interferes with the breakdown process by reducing anandamide’s access to transport FABP, delaying it from entering cells.
CBD Oil Effects on the Body
CBD’s Role With Inflammation
CBD attaches indirectly to the cannabinoid receptors in our bodies, allowing for an analgesic effect. This process can help decrease inflammation in the body and as a result, may be an effective addition to a pain management routine in the fight against chronic pain.
A recent review suggests that medications that contain CBD may be able to enhance a patient’s drug treatment for chronic pain and inflammation conditions. This is typically complementary rather than a replacement to drug therapies as it is used for a general improvement in quality of life.
CBD’s Effect on Gastrointestinal Issues
Research is new and we need more studies, but it was recently found that CBD may be effective in helping gastrointestinal issues caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). A recent review found that the cannabinoid receptor antagonists (those parts of CBD that bind to the aforementioned cannabinoid receptors) decrease relaxation in the lower esophageal sphincter. This relaxation can often lead to acid reflux- so CBD can possibly limit occurrences of acid reflux and other GERD-related symptoms.
CBD can provide a multitude of benefits to our bodies, but we need to work hard to further destigmatize the use of hemp and cannabis in a wellness routine so that we can do further research of the effects of CBD on our bodies.
Preliminary results are positive, with CBD showing promise in treating and managing a wide array of conditions.
When shopping for CBD, be sure to purchase a full spectrum oil. Broad spectrum CBD products also contain a full variety of cannabinoids or active ingredients that the product has to offer.